What does a Garden Gnome do when she is not gardening, in the kitchen or doing genealogy? Well the answer might just surprise you so read the entries to find out more. This blog focuses on everything we do to make our house a home. There will be a strong emphasis on home energy efficiency and do-it-yourself (DIY) projects. At the same time there will also be crafts, knitting and crocheting projects along with any other little tips we do to create that down to earth, I want to be here home. Please enjoy your visit :)

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Curbing Our Dust Problem

Dust can be an issue in any home.  Some houses tend to be dustier than others due to location, age and interior features.  An old house with lath plaster walls will be dustier than a newer home with plastered walls as will a house with a lot of textiles or pets.  Increased household activity can cause dust to become airborne while indoor air currents can cause the dust to form dust bunnies, the bane of many homemakers.  Our home was built in 1994.  The walls are drywall and one selling feature for us was the absence of carpeting.  I quickly discovered that a home with all hard flooring did not mean less dust.  If anything, the dust is more apparent because it has nowhere to hide.

After moving in, I realized the floors needed daily attention to keep them dust free.  There is a farmer's field behind us which is only a problem when the farmer is tilling or harvesting so I simply keep the windows shut then.  I came up with several solutions to control dust in our home including the use of both wet and dry mops.  I use the Bissell steam mop for floors as well.

About three weeks ago, I noticed the dust of the floors getting worse which really didn't make a lot of sense.  It was still cold enough that I hadn't had the windows opened and it had been over a week since we had had a larger get together.  Still, where I had been able to keep the floors looking nice by dusting each morning, the dust balls were quickly growing into the size of dust tumbleweeds.  I resorted to sweeping the upper level floors morning and night but within a half hour of sweeping, they looked like they hadn't been touched.  I was getting frustrated so mentioned to my husband that we might have to install an air cleaner on the furnace.  I set about researching for furnace air cleaners when I cam across a site that listed several ways to reduce dust in the house.  The author indicated that in most cases a furnace air cleaner was not worth spending the money on.  One of his suggestions was using a higher filtering furnace filter.  We already use the 3M allergen control filters so I went down to the furnace to check the filter.

dirty furnace filter
Oh my gosh!  I discovered the furnace filter was beyond being dirty.  It was clogged as you can see from the picture.  Clearly we had somehow forgotten to change out the furnace filter.  Actually, forgetting this important task is rather easy since it is not something you see on a regular basis and it is even easier when you spend time between two houses.  I know we changed a furnace filter back in December but it must have been at our vacation home.  At any rate, I did find the problem.

I turned off the furnace then went to the hardware store for a replacement.  With the new filter in place, I turned the furnace back on and set about removing as much dust as possible from the floors and furniture. I swept all the floors to remove the larger dust bunnies then vacuumed and finally used the wet mop.  Then I went through the house and damp dusted the furniture.  Once the dusting was finished, I turned the furnace back on.  The following morning, the floors were considerably better.  There were no large dust bunnies, just a light coating of dust.  I am using the wet mop with a vinegar and water solution each morning just to keep the dust knocked down even though it doesn't really need it.  At least the floors are back to looking normal rather than living in a dust bowl!